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Cult of Ecstasy Wing
     `The Palace of Wisdom'


If the doors of perception were cleansed
Everything would appear to man as it is.

                                         -William Blake

Pleasure Dome (Entrance Hall)
Ecstatic Rooms
The Pleasure Chambers
The Wing Defenses
Ecstatic Members

Introduction Top of Page
            The wing is not what one might expect. The orgy does not begin the moment one steps in the door. The Cult wing is an experience of the senses, but for now at least, the senses are teased by brushing fingers rather than assailed with sledgehammers. The breeze in the air seems to ripple against your skin like a lover's palm. There is a scent in the air... what is it? Cloves? Tangerines? Cinnamon? Whatever it is, it seems to lull your sense of smell into a blissful, dreaming sleep. The rug beneath your feet feels like the back of a purring cat. The tip of your tongue sings a tune as it plucks the taste of pine and contentment from the atmosphere. Even the rooms themselves are pleasing to the eye. Your vision slides easily over the gentle curves of the walls and slides like a pool of water across retreating hallways. And finally, the air hums with the thick, there-and-not-there sensation of voices singing... not a sound, almost the memory of a sound, like a fingerprint in reality.

                                          This is the abode of the Cult of Ecstasy. Enjoy your stay.

Pleasure Dome  Top of Page

            You stand now in an area known, affectionately, as `The pleasure dome'. This room takes its name from the more elaborate vestibules the Ecstatics are known for constructing within their own Chantries. But for the moment, the dome is just that... an entrance hall. Spacious and pleasing to the eye, its construction is oddly similar to that of a cathedral, with a barrel-dome roof and even the odd stained-glass window, although the scenes depicted in said stained-glass are, of necessity, less than saintly. The room itself is floored by luxuriant shag-pile carpet, and adorned with a variety of ambiences. The sound system is as subtle as it is powerful, usually set to fill the room with a smooth techno-tribal beat, which is simultaneously soothing and yet awakening. Various chairs and couches, most of plush leather, some of sparse wicker, are scattered about the room. The Ecstatics themselves rarely use this room, which exists almost solely for the benefit of visitors to the wing, who sometimes find the pleasures presented by the Cult overwhelming.
            From one side of the pleasure-dome radiate three hallways, each one accessed via an archway and a small flight of marble steps. They are unmarked, and the hallways, girded by several paintings, the subject matter ranging from tasteful through to borderline obscene, eventually fade into the dim, drowsy light. Which of these will you journey down?

Hallway 1  Hallway 2  Hallway 3

Offices Top of Page
                                                      The road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom.

For we can never know what is enough,
until we know what is more than enough.
                                  - William Blake

            This hallway abruptly terminates in a small lobby. A coffee table, a rather pleasant leather armchair, and a small marble water fountain are all adorning this lobby. Leading from it are two doors, each rather simple, embossed with a gold plate. As you read the words on the plate, the filigree catches the light, seeming to make the words dance beneath your vision. One reads simply `Cult of Ecstasy Representative', the other an equally sparse `Cult of Ecstasy Assistant Representative'. The doors have no locks, as both Representatives are always ready to speak with either the Cultists they represent, or those wishing to discuss the Cultists they represent.

Assistant Representative Office
(At the Moment the office of Assistant Representative is vacant. Autumns office still exsists of course but there is no one using it. A note on the door reads "see door #2 for teh Representative, but in case someone is curious what the office looks like...)

            Visual Chaos assaults the senses as soon as Autumn's door is opened. An herb garden and no less than four disassembled computers are but the most mundane decorations at any given time, strewn haphazardly across the room. Music blasts constantly, old-school rock mingles with softer music and instrumentals. The smell of fresh, sweet basil and honeysuckle perfumes the air. Comfy couches and overstuffed velvet chairs line the walls, several of which fold out to form beds. Autumn's laptop lies on her desk, open to some file or other of cryptic
techno-jargon. Her guitar rests next to the desk, almost glowing with ojas (quintessence). A "Most Wanted" poster is stapled to her memo board, with notes scribbled in shorthand on the side. A bookshelf creaks and groans, full to overflowing with Byron, Poe, Douglas Adams, Science fiction, Philosophical texts, programming manuals, and a gratuitous copy of the karma sutra.

Assistant Representative Office
(At the moment Leigh is using Anson's office "as is"  so it looks basically the same)

            Anson's office is constructed along the same guidelines as Autumn's, but the interior decoration belies the personality of the occupant. For a start, there is no desk. When Anson is forced to do paperwork, he has a habit of spreading it over the floor and walking around between pieces of paper in order to `get a more holistic viewpoint'. It has been suggested that `getting a more holistic viewpoint' is Anson-ese for `weirding out Hermetics until they make me stop doing paperwork'. If this is the case, Anson has a long way to go.
            Secondly, in contrast to the offices of the Hermetic or Verbena representatives, Anson's book collection is rather small. Those few literary works that do grace his shelves are so well-thumbed as to be falling almost to pieces. Those willing to put in the time to find titles and authors might note the prominence of such worthies as George Orwell, Timothy Leary and Noam Chomsky, as well as relative obscurities such as P.K. Narayan and Nestor Cerpya. There is not a text on magick to be found.
            The walls are decorated sparsely. The room is dominated by a large velvet wall hanging that sits exactly opposite the doorway. The hanging, bright blood-red on deep black-purple, depicts a large anarchy symbol, and beneath it, the words "And to do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law". A few posters for esoteric rock bands can also be found squeezed between the book shelves, but the anarchy hanging attracts the attention it was designed to. Aside from posters, hangings, and bookshelves, the only thing that decorates the charcoal-grey walls is a small series of coat hangers, which are usually graced by at least one item of Anson's clothing. His ubiquitous leather jacket has its own hook.
            Accommodations for visitors involve several large, plush cushions and beanbags, a couch, a curtain that may be drawn for privacy, and a pair of Japanese meditation mats. A pair of pot plants takes pride of place in the office, one rhododendron and one ti-tree, their woody scents filling a room, which already smells faintly of past and future passions. Those large sections of bookshelf not occupied by books also contain greenery, mostly cactuses, which Anson seems to have a fondness for (possibly because of the low maintenance). Furthermore, the representative has recently taken up bonsai. Unfortunately, his lack of patience (the reason he took up the hobby in the first place) conspires towards the fact that the bonsai plant is a different one each week.

(One assumes that someone has been at least watering these plants if not pruning them, so that they still exsist even if there state is not quite as beautiful as before)

            Other paperphenalia clutters the office. A pair of snow globes, some marbles, a leather whip, a pair of nipple-clamps, various components of Anson's vast and eclectic CD collection (all of them pirated, naturally), some ashtrays, an antique fountain pen, some handcuffs and a business card for the `Black Hole' fetish store are only a few of the things one might find on a search through the nooks and crannies of Anson's office. Few would want to undertake such a search, however. Rumors of a lost civilization living underneath the rug have since been discounted.
            Closeted behind one of the bookshelves in the office is a small doorway. A spiral staircase behind this doorway leads down to open into the smaller Ecstatic office outside the council chambers. This doorway is the only way to access the Ecstatic wing without going through the pleasure-dome, and it is usually kept locked. Only Leigh has the key.

Ecstatic Rooms Top of Page

Trust and its sister, surrender, are like a womb
In which all of consciousness can gestate and mature.
                                                   - Richard Moss, "The I that is We"

            Contrary to popular belief, Cultists sleep. Indeed, some of them sleep a lot. The phrase `up at the crack of noon' is not inaccurate. And, at least some times, even the wildest Ecstatic needs a regular place to hang his hat when `my place' is the way to go.
            With this in mind, this hallway is home to the Ecstatics. The hallway is wide and circular, leading around to loop back into itself. The doors are irregularly spaced, and each is different, in a deliberate attempt to get away from the `hotel' atmosphere. Currently, there are twenty rooms, only ten of which are currently occupied. The other ten are bare and unfurnished, awaiting the personal effects of their future occupants.
            Each of the occupied rooms has the name of its occupant marked on the door in some manner. There is not a Cultist alive who does not know the pain of coming home drunk to open the wrong door. Most of the doors are unlocked, due to the familial atmosphere of the Ecstatics, but even Cultists have been known to have their disputes, so the various Ecstatics are not in and out of one another's rooms as often as one might expect.

The Pleasure Chambers Top of Page

The last time we met it was a low lit room
We were as close together as a bride and groom
We ate the food, we drank the wine
Everybody having a good time
Except you
You were talking about the end of the world
- U2, "Until the End of the World"

            As even the most naïve Hermetic apprentice knows, the Cult of Ecstasy is dedicated to the pursuit of enlightenment through pleasure. As one might expect, the Ecstatic wing contains a significant section which is dedicated largely to just such an end. This area is known generally as the `pleasure chambers'. The Ecstatics might just have another name for it amongst themselves, but if this is the case, they're not letting on.
            Most of these rooms are large, circular lounges, their windows looking out over the gardens, airy and spacious. They are interspersed with couches, chairs, massage benches and floor mats. Some are decorated in marble and lace, some crushed velvet and mahogany, but all are as relaxing as they are tastefully decorated. Easily drawn curtains afford privacy when it is needed.

            Many of these rooms, however, are wholly dedicated to the pursuit of various individual pleasures. As such, these warrant a description.
The Pillow Room
The Baths
The Crucible
The Garden
The Parlour
The Hot Spot


            The first thing most people notice about this room is that it is spherical. Not circular, spherical. It is a perfectly rounded sphere, accessed by a single door. The second thing one notices is that, despite having no visible light source, the room is illuminated with a dull, drowsy light which ebbs and fades with the desires of the rooms inhabitants, ranging from a cleansing glare to pitch darkness. The third, but most significant feature of the room is the pillows.

            The walls of the room are padded with extremely soft, yielding cushions, buffered by layers of impact-absorbent foam. Even the door, when closed, seamlessly seals into these cushions. Two good-sized people could fall from the top of the chamber to the bottom without hurting themselves or one another. This is a fact that the Ecstatics, as one can doubtless imagine, take advantage of in interesting ways.

            The feel of water on the skin is one of the oldest pleasures known to man, and, as the saying goes, the oldies are the goodies. Anson almost certainly had this in mind when the baths were installed. These facilities contain all the amenities of a modern bathing complex, complete with showers, a sauna,  ice-cold chill-pool, a good sized pool for laps, along with several smaller baths whose temperatures range from lukewarm to near boiling, and whose sizes range from solo to party-sized. A wide range of bath oils and scented soaps are also available.

`            The crucible', as it is often known, is such an innocuous looking room as to make the name seem almost totally ludicrous. It is almost spherical, the walls composed of smooth, white porcelain, illumination provided by a pair of ceiling braziers which give off a sweet, calming incense as they burn. The end effect is not unpleasant... similar to being a goldfish within a bowl. The floor is layered with thick cream-white carpet, and the ceiling a similar color of velvet. Why the room merits such a harsh name is not evident until one realizes the purpose for which it is used.
            The crucible is where a Cultist goes if he wishes to push his mind to the brink. Everything about the room is designed to be calming and tranquil; to encourage the mind to fly while the sanity stays enfolded in a safe cocoon. It is often used for seekings, for truly intense ritual magick, and other activities that risk plunging one's head irrevocably beneath the surface of the Lakashim. The crucible is kept locked, and only Leigh has the keys. Although they never refuse access to the room, they always extract a detailed explanation of what the Cultist in question is doing. Accountability is one thing. Responsibility for one's fellow Ecstatics is another.

            This room, cloistered among the various other pleasure chambers, is surprisingly serene seeming. Quite large, it contains a small bar and several sets of tables. A gabled window looks out over the Cultist's rooftop garden and the city as a whole. The only other decoration in the room is a single scroll, attached to a wall. This scroll is something of a divergence from the erotic imagery, which is generally tastefully displayed throughout the Cult wing. It is instead a simple document, written in a rather flowery hand, entitled `The Code of Ananda'.
            This room is where the Ecstatics hold their rare, formal discussions. It is almost never used for such a purpose, although it is not unusual to find the odd Ecstatic here for a quiet drink and an opportunity to gaze out over the rooftops of Necropolis, perhaps in an attempt to gain some perspective. Nonetheless, when they do gather together for formal meetings, they do so around a circular table, under the gaze of the Code of Ananda. Those who visit the Ecstatics are often shown this room, and often comment with surprise at the degree to which the Cultists, such a group of self-confessed anarchists, revere this caveat handed down from their founder centuries ago. When asked, the Cultists usually give a variety of reasons, all of them enigmatic. Anson has been known to put the answer by simply claiming "We don't follow rules. These aren't rules. These are truths"

The Code is a simple document, outlined below.

I: Thou art miraculous. So are we all.

II: He who spits upon his good right hand shall find the left one fails him in need.

III: Each gold coin yields two like it: Each stalk given creates a bundle. Yet. Each coin taken turns the rest to dross. And one bundle gone creates a famine. Thus shall a seer account his deeds.

IV: Some minds rest best asleep. Stir not those who would not waken otherwise.

V: Truths foreseen are not always truths.

VI: If a man (or a woman) would rend another's passions, let him be as one torn by wild dogs. For passions are the seat of the self. If they bleed, so too does the soul.

VII: Let each seer account his own deeds. And if those deeds should want for wisdom or kindness, let him be put forth to weep alone.

VIII: Humor cooleth blood. Wrath spilleth it.

IX: Even trees rent by lightning may grow new fruit.

X: A fool feels no fear. A sleeper remains shackled by it. A master transcends it, yet recalls its wisdom. It is good to be afraid. It is folly to bow to terror.

            The Ecstatic garden does not even begin to match the Verbena garden in size. Indeed, it is a very small affair, reminiscent of the rooftop gardens of New Orleans. A small balcony leads out into a mass of greenery tightly wedged between two of the gables of the Chantry's rooftops. The garden is tightly packed with lush greenery, rhododendrons and orange trees taking precedence. A good variety of the plants here are hallucinogenic, but many an Ecstatic is content to simply enjoy the scents of the trees, to feel their leaves brushing against naked skin. Traversing the garden leads to a small balcony that overlooks the main gardens and the city. The railing is low, and directly beneath the balcony is a large rock pool, deep enough to take a diver. Despite this, the Ecstatic representative, officially discourages diving from the rooftop garden into the rock pool, let alone while naked. Particularly to those to whom the idea had yet to occur.

            Body art is a favorite pass time of many an Ecstatic, and those who make the Infinity Chantry their home are no exception. With the aid of various magicks, body alteration to an almost unheard of degree is not only possible, it is encouraged. This room is dome-shaped, the walls inscribed with elaborate pictures which seem to shift even as they are looked at. The dim, smoky, seductive light cast by crackling incense burners does not help. These burners clean the air of the room, the incense acting as an antiseptic, killing all bacteria as long as they continue to smolder.
            The various tools of the body-adornment trade are kept suspended from the ceiling in velvet bags, dangling over the bench on which the art is practiced. The bench, unlike most of the amenities presented for the Cultists and their visitors, is composed solely of harsh, unyielding, obsidian-black marble. Those not ready to experience the sensations of their body changing should not enter this chamber in the first place.

            Another recent innovation, this small room is mostly bare, although the walls, like so many others, are padded. At the moment, the room contains only a net connection and a few items of computer paperphenalia, among them a pair of virtual reality gloves, a similar headset, and a computer. The room, or the `hot-spot' as it is affectionately known, is the home for those who wish to explore one particular facet of the Lakashim... techno-Ecstasia.

The Wing Defenses Top of Page

You do it to yourself
You do, and that's what really hurts
You do it to yourself
You do, you and no-one else
You do it to yourself
- Radiohead, "Just"

            An attacker would have to be both persistent and foolish to attempt to mount some sort of attack on the Ecstatic wing. It has, of course, never happened, but nonetheless, wards have been put in place to prevent aggression within the Chantry. However, it should be borne in mind that this is not the Hermetic wing, and an aggressor is unlikely to be strike by a fireball. In some cases, he might wish he had been, but until the wards are put to use, one will have to wait and see.

(I believe there was an attack on teh Ecstatic Woing shortly before the Chantry-wide Technocratic attack but I have not been updated on changes or damage. I am therefore assuming that the wards have been repaired and are fully functional as before)

            The wards fall into two categories. Bona-fide wards, fed from the Chantry's quintessence source and built into the building itself, and mere `hanging effects', rotes cast and set to trigger under a set of specific circumstances, via the use of the Time 4 sphere. Both are discussed below, but the distinction is important. Hanging effects are  'one-shot' weapons, although hopefully someone will replace them once they `go off'. The wards themselves, however, cannot be stopped without powerful counter-magick.

Sense of Tranquillity
Time Flies
Scream of the Banshee
Hanging Affects
Dance of the Damned
Sleep of the Guilty

~Sense of Tranquillity~ (Mind )

            A relatively simple ward, the effect of this magick is so subtle as to be almost unnoticeable. It ensures that, while one is in the Ecstatic wing, violence and harm are furthest from one's mind. While grudges and dislikes are far from forgotten, there is an abiding sense in the visitor's mind that they are best solved through other means, although the resolve to solve them is not detracted from in the slightest. It is worth noting that those who successfully resist this ward will not feel the sense of tranquillity, wonder and stimulation described upon entry to the wing.

            (All those who enter the Ecstatic wing must roll Willpower, difficulty 8. Those who attain three successes {through either Willpower or some form of Mind counter-magick}, are able to shrug off the ward's effects. Those who roll only one or two successes will find themselves imbued with an aura of peace and tranquillity, and will have difficulty coping with the concept of inflicting violence on those within what is so obviously a place where concepts such as hatred and violence are freed in favor of love and compassion. In game terms, they will suffer a +1 difficulty to any aggressive act. Those who fail their roll are rendered essentially unable to perform an aggressive act in all but the most indirect fashion. A botch will turn the subject into a starry-eyed hippie, who is unable to conceive of aggression, let alone practice it, and will want nothing more than to be friends with everybody they meet, not less those who reside within the Cult Wing. These effects all last until the subject leaves the wing, except for the case of a botch, which will last for several hours afterwards. This effect is coincidental... after all, this is a place of love.)

~Time Flies~ (Entropy  Time )
            Again, the key to this ward is subtlety. Those who do attempt to commit aggression within the wing find that time works against them. Everything they attempt to do is sabotaged by all manner of annoying coincidences. They find themselves tripping up, being overwhelmed by the scents and sounds of the wing, and even, in extreme cases, getting lost. The effect begins as annoying and can border upon the surreal. The effect can be triggered by any of the Ecstatics, although it will not recognize an Ecstatic as the target, unless either of the Representatives is designating the target as such. The ward is, however, useless if not called upon by an Ecstatic, most of whom can do so by simply recognizing a given individual as an aggressor, without having to put out some manner of `psychic call'.
(When the ward is activated, it subtracts two from the successes of any action that requires speed of movement, be it combat, flight, or the like. These two successes do not counter-act `1's, so rolling a botch becomes considerably more likely.)

~Scream of the Banshee~ (Mind  Time )
            This particular alarm is all-purpose, and once more, subtlety is the key. The alarm, which is constantly on, scans the future of the Ecstatic wing, searching for signs of distress, pain, anger, hatred and conflict in general. (After several interesting incidents, it has since been defused to the point where it will not respond to a lover's argument). The alarm ranges approximately one hour into the future, but it has been known to pick up extremely emotionally charged events up to three or four hours away. When such an event is detected, the alarm imbues all Ecstatics in the wing with a `sense of unease', causing them to become restless and on their guard - in other words, prepared for the incursion which is about to take place. Because of this, very few Ecstatics are ever surprised by an incursion into their wing. Like all the other wards, however, it has its weakness. In this case, it is the fact that the ward, while scanning for negative emotions, is unable to detect theft, vandalism and other `victimless' crimes.

            (The Ecstatics could, in theory, resist the anxiety-inducing effects of this ward with Willpower and/or Mind magick of their own, but few do. They know that, if the ward is coming into effect, they have better things to worry about than mere discomfort)

Hanging Affects
~Dance of the Damned~ (Life  Mind  Time )
            This effect is centered in the pleasure-dome, and has, using Matter magick, been bound into a crystal orb which is suspended beneath the center of the dome's barrel-roof. By activating the orb (something which requires a command word known only to the Ecstatics), an Ecstatic can flood the room with a scintillating hypnotic light. This light, when directed against a target, causes them to be wracked with intense waves of pleasure which are incapacitating to all but the strongest-minded of individuals. An intruder who can withstand this onslaught would be a formidable foe indeed. This rote involves effects that would usually be considered rape if performed upon an unwilling target. As such, it is used sparingly.

            (When the rote is activated, it takes effect immediately following the caster's action in activating it, with no delay. Five health levels of `phantom' damage may be distributed among those in the room by the caster. These levels may be soaked by a Willpower roll (Difficulty 8) or via countermagick. The health levels act exactly like normal health levels of damage, except in four crucial ways. A) The wound penalties presented by them are doubled, with any penalty above -5 being considered incapacitated. B) They cannot kill, only knock unconscious and into a sleep filled with dreams of intense stimulation. C) The dice penalties originate, not from pain, but from intense, overwhelming, soul-quavering ecstasy. D) All these `phantom' health levels disappear within an hour.)

Hanging Affects
~Sleep of the Guilty~ (Life  Time )
            A rote as unsubtle as it is formidable. There are four such 'wards' positioned within the wing... one bound into a snowdome in the lobby between the two offices, one into a painting on the wall of the staircase leading to Anson's office, one into a wall hanging at the beginning of the corridor leading to the Cultist's rooms, and one into a small opal inset, into the archway leading to the pleasure chambers. Because of this, it is almost impossible to go anywhere in the Wing without passing one. This is totally deliberate. The ward can be activated by any of the Ecstatics, simply by intoning the right command word (the word need only be said in order for the correct mental patterns to be formed, it is not necessary that it actually be physically 'heard' by anything). The effect is dramatic, but potent. Time freezes around the target, causing them to stop dead in their tracks, unmoving. While the target's mind is active, their body is unable to move whatsoever, and they cannot perform any magick which requires even the slightest bodily movement. Although this rote has never been activated, there has been speculation that the target, who no longer requires food or water due to the static nature of his pattern, could simply be left, frozen, to contemplate his actions.

            (This ward is largely self-explanatory. It uses Life to alter the target's pattern, and Time to reweave that pattern into static one, forbidding all movement. Because the stasis is bound into the target's pattern, it is possible for others to interact with them without breaking the stasis. Five successes are required to counter this freeze, which lasts for a week unless partially countered or prematurely released by one of the rote's instigators {at the moment the use  of this rote would be quite dangerous as there is no one available to turn the rote off should a mistake be made})

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